One State-Many Nations

Western Reserve Public Media




  • Algonquian


  • Some believe the Shawnee are descendants of the Fort Ancient people.

  • The term "Southerner" refers to their position relative other Algonquian speakers. They were the southernmost Nation in Ohio.

  • The Shawnee had five divisions in their nation called clans.

  • Shawnee people moved from place to place trying to find a home. This caused constant fighting with other Native groups and with European settlers.

  • By 1730 most Shawnee had returned to Ohio.

  • They had many settlements in Ohio in Fayette County (near Bellefontaine), Logan County, Defiance County, Ross County (near Circleville), Pickaway County and Miami County.

  • Famous Shawnee settlements are Wapakoneta in Auglaize County (which is the present-day Wapakonetta), Chillicothe and Piqua.

  • The villages of the Shawnee were situated in such a way that there was a trail of villages from near the Ohio River all they to Fort Detroit in Michigan

  • Shawnee people were part of the “Big Four” Nations of Ohio

  • The Shawnee tried to remain neutral during the French and Indian War but the British perceived them as enemies and raided them. Shawnee Chief Pride was killed.

  • In 1755 they sent a delegation to Philadelphia to protest loss of their land. The British hung them all.

  • A treaty was signed in 1785 in which the lands west of the Allegheny were returned to the Natives. This was generally ignored by the settlers. By 1774 there were 50,000 frontiersmen west of the Appalachians and competing with the Natives for land.

  • Many Shawnee died of smallpox after the siege at Fort Pitt in 1763.

  • 1795 the Treaty of Greenville was signed by the Alliance. This ceded all the Native land in Ohio except the northwest corner.

  • In 1846, the Western Alliance was formed. The major goal was to keep Native land for Native people.

Family Life

  • In summer, the Shawnee gathered in large villages of bark-covered houses and plank houses with a central gathering place, or a Big House, for meetings and ceremonies.

  • Shawnee civil chieftainships were hereditary and held for life.

  • Shawnee were patrilineal instead of matrilineal.

  • War chiefs were selected on the basis of skill.

  • Men hunted and protected the people.

  • Women took care of crops and children. According to Simon Keaton, a famous frontiersman, in 1780 at the villages of Kispoko and Pickaway, there were over 800 acres of corn under hand cultivation.

  • Important ceremonies were often tied to agricultural seasons such as the Green Corn Dance and the Fall Bread Dance. These festivals were both serious and fun.

  • Men wore cloth shirts, breech cloths, leggings, moccasins, frock coats and a lot of silver. Some men wore turbans made of cloth and five-inch earrings.

  • Women wore hide dresses: one hide in front and one in back with straps over the shoulder, and leggings and moccasins. A third hide was worn poncho style. Later, trade cloth and trade silver were highly prized.

Famous Chief — Cornstalk

  • Lord Dunmore’s 1,000 troops met with 1,000 Shawnee sent by Chief Cornstalk at Point Pleasant in West Virginia. The Shawnee were driven north across the Ohio River.

  • Cornstalk made a treaty with the Virginia officials.

  • Cornstalk and his son traveled to Fort Randolph at Point Pleasant to warn the Virginians they would be fighting on the side of the British. They were both hung.

Famous Chief — Blue Jacket

  • Took the place of Little Turtle. Had a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

Famous Chief — Tecumseh

  • Tecumseh was born at the village of Kispoko near Springfield, Ohio. His father was killed and his mother left him to be raised by his older sister, Tecumpease. (Children were often cared for by the whole community due to the loss of male family members.)

  • Tecumseh was trying to reform an alliance to stop the steadily encroaching settlers.

  • In the War of 1812 Tecumseh went to Canada to support the British.

  • Tecumseh continued the fight after several retreats, but was mortally wounded and died in 1813. With him died the hope of a united resistance to the westward movement of Euro-Americans.


  • Around 1813, the Shawnee of Ohio were given three reservations, Wapaughkonetta, Hog’s Creek (near Ada) and a mixed reserve of Mingo and Shawnee at Lewistown. In 1826, 200 Shawnee followed the Prophet (Tecumseh’s brother) to Kansas.

  • The Removal Act of 1830 began to put more pressure on the Natives of Ohio.

  • In 1831 the Lewistown Shawnee left for the Oklahoma Indian Territory.

  • In 1831 the final 400 Shawnee at Wapaughkonetta and Hogs Creek left for Kansas.

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